Notes on Cultural Studies

The Grateful Dead's continuing influence over people my age and younger reeks of the worst kind of cultural posturing and fraud. Last month, they played Chicago. It would turn out to be the band's final concert with Garcia. I was walking up Michigan Avenue, on my way to the movies, in a throng of baby Dead fans, some of them half my age. They all had that born-too-late, relive the sixties, throwback look-- long-haired, barefoot clones in tye-dye completely oblivious to how naive and anachronistic they really appeared...

But the Grateful Dead, as the fanatic fans always point out, are a way of life: someone else's. Twentieth-century teenagers, especially American ones, have been brilliant at creating their own culture, their own music, clothes, and point (s) of view. It's sad and fraudulent that the kind of wholesale worship of some historical way of life has settled over so many young people, infecting them like a noxious gas.

-- Sarah Vowell, Radio On


dave said…
I love Sarah Vowell--_Assassination Vacation_ is fabulous. Thanks for the excerpt!
Cinephile said…
Hey Dave! Glad you enjoyed it-- I think Vowell is so good at encapsulating and articulating those kinds of cultural moments, and what they mean. I haven't read all of Assasination Vacation-- I should go back to it.

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